Richard Dawkins ‘Wonders’ What Happens After We Die

Richard Dawkins ‘Wonders’ What Happens After We Die

Famed Atheist Richard Dawkins appeared on the John Stewart show to promote Dawkins’ new book An Appetite for Wonder. The book, a memoir, chronicles Dawkins’ journey from religious Christian to non-believing scientist. In it, he reveals details about his personal life and his time as a child in a boy’s school. The book also discusses how Dawkins grew to abandon his religious beliefs and turn to a life of science.

During the interview about his new book, Stewart asked him what happens to us after we die. Dawkins paused for a moment and Stewart said “so, you don’t know?” Dawkins said we would either be cremated, donated to science or buried. Stewart then said “you actually don’t know what happens to us,” and Dawkins replied, “I don’t know what happens to us but I know that our consciousness is wrapped up in our brains and I know that our brains rot. There doesn’t seem to be any reason, other than wishful thinking to-“ he was cut off by Stewart at that point, who asked Dawkins if he agreed that there is “a possibility” that consciousness could go on after death, and Dawkins said “Well, there is a possibilty for all sorts of things…”

He went on to say “faith means belief without evidence and you shouldn’t believe anything without evidence…Just because something brings us comfort, it doesn’t make it true.” Dawkins also said that “phsyics is incomplete” and that we don’t yet really know “how the universe works.” He said that physcis has “a long way to go” before we come to understand the workings of the universe and the answer to the big questions. Dawkins said that the concept of our surviving beyond our deaths was akin to magical thinking, explaining that there is “something beyond us; there are many things we don’t understand, but the particular thing of surviving our own death (is) palpable wishful thinking that goes against everything we understand about how the nervous system works…we are apes, we are African apes.”

Despite admitting to “a possibility” that some kind of consciousness goes on after death, Dawkins made it clear that by “possibility” he means that it is highly improbable. He implies that since our brains create our consciousness, and our brains die when we die, the possibility of consciousness continuing after death is most likely none. Still, since science has yet to answer the most pressing questions about how the universe works and why we are here, holding on to the belief in something that goes on after we die is a powerful comfort to millions. However, as Dawkins points out, just because something brings comfort does not make it true.

He goes on to say that Religion is “destructive to the human intellect” because it discourages rational thought. His foundation is dedicated to reason, science and rational thinking. Toward the end of the interview, Dawkins brought up a point about our ancestors “going somewhere” after they died. He posited-since we evolved from animals, at what point would we have started “going somewhere” after we die? Stewart did not have an answer for that, but ended the session on a comical note by asking Dawkins “do you want to get high later?” Richard Dawkins ‘wonders’ what happens after we die, but even though he’s not 100% certain, he makes it apparent that he’s still pretty darn sure that the answer to that question is “nothing.”

By: Rebecca Savastio

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19 Responses to "Richard Dawkins ‘Wonders’ What Happens After We Die"

  1. Dos   November 28, 2017 at 8:35 am

    Well I was dead for 3 mins and it was nothingness kinda like going to sleep. So yeah no “life” after death.

  2. DENNIS   September 21, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    having known a near death experience . out of body. watching entire scenerios occurring. which therefore has nothing to do with drug induceing or lack of oxygen. or any other athiest excuses. I know 4 a fact myself that atheist are full of it. and I suspect many athiest had some event over their lives that caused them to become disillusioned. and imbittered. they are clueless. yet try to arrogantly scoff and portray themselves as some higher intellect. grounded in their small scientific view. sorry but wrong!

    • Chris   January 28, 2017 at 9:53 pm

      Well what you said proves nothing either. At least some people can think rationally. Sorry, you’re dillusional!

    • david   August 25, 2017 at 5:39 pm

      Dennis, I take melatonin every night before I go to bed, it helps me dream.

  3. phil daniels   September 20, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Denying evolution /Darwin-ism seems ridiculous ,I mean we must have come from somewhere…..
    But surely the argument should whether this was gods method of creationism or is it down to random luck of atoms finding each other by shear chance,like one man buying a lottory ticket everyday for a million years and winning the jackpot everyday.And none of these argument give the least explanation for conciousness,emotions

  4. matt   September 17, 2014 at 10:38 am

    I think people who believe no consciousness exist after death haven’t had an experience within themselves of life after death. I have, so I know something happens. What exactly, I don’t know. It is not wishful thinking on my part.
    It seems as though people who haven’t had a life after death experience really want others to believe nothing exists, which seems to be pushing a belief based on logic and rational thinking very much like a religion itself.
    One thing I do know is religion and science have done good and bad things and are both driven by humans.

  5. Phukodaclown   September 8, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    There is no evidence for life after death. I agree with that. The brain is a web of electrical impulses. When supposed after death communications occur, one needs to consider the electrical impulses firing at the team of near death. Many people need comfort about what happens when you die. We have to block that desire out and view things logically.

  6. Phil Daniels   September 5, 2014 at 8:33 am

    I agree,he knows nothing of conciousness yet offers he opinion as fact

  7. Rodney   August 26, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Dawkins says: “the concept of our surviving beyond our deaths was akin to magical thinking”. But the concept that the brain can produce consciousness is itself magical thinking. There is no known mechanism whereby a physical structure can produce a thought, yet materialists such as Dawkins treat the idea as if it were a fact. In so doing they ignore the wealth of evidence showing the existence of consciousness outside of any brain. The evidence can be found in the study of veridical NDEs, deathbed visions, children’s spontaneous recall of previous lives, after-death communications (veridical ADCs), and so on, all of which provide numerous cases that are unable to be explained away by any sceptical speculation. Yet the sceptics, ignoring all that, still loudly proclaim; “There is no evidence for a life after death.”

  8. Tahlia C.   December 18, 2013 at 7:27 am

    It is not proven that the ‘brain’ creates ‘consciousness’. In fact functional MRI studies suggest it may not even be true.

    Consider the case where the brain ‘wants to think about something pleasant, enjoyable, say playing cricket – these pathways may be ‘imaged’ using functional MRI. Similarly consider the case where the brain doesn’t want to think about something, say ‘toilet cleaning’. These pathways may also be imaged using functional MRI.

    Experimentally these two scenarios can be created in an MRI simultaneously and imaged – say the scenario where someone wants to go play cricket, but is forced to clean toilets instead.

    The pathways clearly appear (as physiological events in the brain), and are materially evident – but that which suppresses (the process or whatever) the pleasant pathways of playing cricket and forces the sustainance of the unpleasant pathways does not appear to be physical, or is not yet detectable physically.

    Although this may ultimately appear to be physical, it does not currently appear to be, and no one has thoughts about how it could be. There are many brain/mind scientists who quietly believe this to be evidence that conciousness and brain are separate (possibly by that which divides metaphysics from physics).

    This is similar to a radio being made up of physical things. That being the case does not mean physical things alone explain its behaviour when it emits sound. We need to include an understanding of electromagnetism. So to with the brain/mind. Pumping blood and brain matter alone do not explain its behaviour. A dead brain and a living brain are materially the same but science cannot explain why one thinks, the other not.

    Richard Dawkins often exaggerates what science is able to show …

  9. GRAHAM   December 17, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Peddling false consolation and pseudo-science is not “help”. Lying, intentionally or otherwise, to people who are stricken with grief is contemptible. To take advantage of vulnerable people for profit is worse than contemptible. It does real harm in the real world!

    • david   August 25, 2017 at 6:08 pm

      Graham, I take it you’re speaking of religion, if so I agree 100%. Anything that cannot be proven scientifically should not be uttered.

  10. Rod Walton   October 14, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Spot on Rebecca, I have been researching NDEs for the last 37 years,, and wrote a book on the subject with Dr Caroline Wilkins in 2010, We have been using the NDE research evidence to help people who are suffering from bereavement, and have had great success. This is our web site.

  11. Christine Thompson   September 29, 2013 at 12:19 pm


    Hello again, my post is above!
    In that post, I said I’d post a short selection of just some of the 650+ very varied books on this vital subject – the contents of which, when understood properly, and taken as a whole, do, in fact, prove that the actual nature of the event we term “death” is completely different from what it merely seem to be, when taken at its very illusory face-value appearance.

    So, here goes, with a short list of some very excellent books, detailing the veritable wealth of multi-faceted, objective evidence/data which proves that “death” is not what it seems to be, and that we all survive [in sub-atomic energy form: ie, the eternal soul we each are] that very illusory event.


    “Consciousness beyond life; the science of the Near-Death Experience”, by Dutch cardiologist, Dr Pim van Lommel.
    “Evidence of the afterlife”, by American oncologist, Dr Jeffrey Long.
    “The art of dying: a journey to elsewhere”, by UK psychiatrist, Dr Peter Fenwick.
    “The truth in the light”, by UK psychiatrist, Dr Peter Fenwick.
    “You cannot die”, by Ian Currie.
    “”We don’t die”, by Joel Martin & Patricia Romanowski.
    “The supreme adventure”, by geologist, Robert Crookall.
    “Life before life – a scientific investigation of children’s memories of previous lives”, by American psychiatrist, Dr Jim B Tucker.
    “Glimpses of eternity”, by American psychiatrist, Dr Raymond Moody Jr.
    “Life after life”, by the above Dr Raymond Moody Jr.
    “Children’s past lives”, by Carol Bowman.
    “Return from heaven”, by Carol Bowman.
    “The children that time forgot”, by Peter and Mary Harrison.
    “Embracing eternity”, by Tony Stockwell.
    “Same soul, many bodies”, by American psychiatrist, Dr Brian Weiss.
    “Science and the Near-Death Experience: how consciousness survives death”, by Chris Carter.
    “Science and the afterlife experience: evidence for the immortality of consciousness”, by Chris Carter.
    “European cases of the European type”, by American psychiatrist, Professor Ian Stevenson.
    “The airmen who would not die”, by John G Fuller.
    “Many mansions”, by Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding.
    “Lychgate”, by Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding.
    “Closer to the light”, by American paediatrician, Dr Melvin Morse.
    “Parting visions”, by American paediatrician, Dr Melvin Morse.
    “The case against death”, by Richard Lazarus.
    “Death is of vital importance: on life, death, and life after death”, by Swiss-American psychiatrist, Dr Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.
    “Life before life”, by Joel Whitton and Joe Fisher.
    “A life beyond death”, by Gary Williams.
    “Cosmic cradle: spiritual dimensions of life before birth”, by Elizabeth M Carman & Neil J Carman.
    “Spirit babies”, by Walter Makichen.

    And literally hundreds [thousands?] more, besides.

    I hope this information may be of some interest to your readers!

    • david   August 25, 2017 at 6:32 pm

      Christine, may I suggest that you read another book by Julian Jaynes, “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.”

  12. Christine Thompson   September 29, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Rebecca I’m an Englishwoman in my fifties, and a very knowledgeable one, too. I’ve studied, in depth, all manner of subjects, and, since 1994, have become aware of the truth of something that will, one day (the day he ‘dies’..), make Richard Dawkins have to face the very unpleasant fact that, whilst he was on Earth, he did not have the requisite intelligence to discover the ACTUAL true nature of existence.

    Firstly, before I say any more, let me please clarify something: I am most definitely not “religious”; but I am, most definitely, spiritually-enlightened (there’s a whole world of difference between “religious” and “spiritually-enlightened”!!).

    Despite what Dawkins merely ‘thinks’, there is, in truth, a veritable wealth of multi-faceted, objective evidence proving that we do survive [in sub-atomic energy form: ie, the eternal soul we each are] the very, very illusory event that’s so very wrongly called ‘death’.

    Contrary to what Richard Dawkins merely thinks, consciousness is not “merely an epiphenomenon of brain activity”, it is, in fact, separate from the brain.
    The eternal mind/consciousness manifests/operates THROUGH the physical brain, but is most definitely not created BY the physical brain.
    There are an ever-growing number of properly-informed [enlightened] neuroscientists, and other scientists,worldwide, who realise this very real fact.

    Since 1994, when I first came across a book describing some spiritual truths [some very objective evidence indicating reincarnation to be a fact…], I decided to initiate an extensive programme of research, to see whether there was [or was not] a body of objective evidence which would support the contention that we do survive [in energy form] the event we term “death”.
    And I was truly amazed at what my very extensive researches produced.
    (Since 1994, I’ve read over 650 [six hundred and fifty…] very varied books, which detail the plethora of multi-faceted, objective evidence/data which, in fact, proves that we do, indeed, survive [in sub-atomic energy form: ie, the eternal soul we each are] the very illusory event that’s so very wrongly termed ‘death’.

    Countless millions of properly-informed, spiritually-enlightened people, worldwide, know full well that the actual nature of existence/life/reality is so very different from what it seems to be, when taken at its very illusory, face-value appearance.
    Unfortunately, there are also countless millions of UNinformed people, worldwide, who have less than no idea of the plethora of multi-faceted, objective evidence/data which shows that the actual nature of the event we term “death” is so very, very different from what it merely seems to be, when interpreted at its very illusory face-value appearance.

    I should say, here, that many of the 650+ books I’ve read [since 1994] on this subject have been written by properly-informed, spiritually-enlightened scientists, doctors, psychiatrists, philosophers, teachers, lawyers, etc etc etc.

    If I’m able to post this, here, I’ll post again, listing just a few of the very many excellent books I’ve read on this vital subject.

    It is an absolute fact that we do survive [in energy form: ie, the eternal soul we each are] the very illusory event that’s so very wrongly termed “death”; and, on the day he ‘dies’, Richard Dawkins will get the very biggest shock.
    It is a multi-dimensional cosmos that we live in; ie, there is far, far more to existence than ‘merely’ this physical universe that we all reside in. There are numerous non-physical, spiritual dimensions of existence – all created from the ‘stuff’ which comprises literally everything: ie, the thing called energy. It is an absolute fact that literally everything is composed of [sub-atomic] energy that is vibrating at different frequencies.
    It is these spiritual dimensions of this multi-dimensional cosmos that we will each find ourselves still existing, in, immediately after the TRANSITIONAL event that is called “death”.

    • david   August 25, 2017 at 6:19 pm

      Christine, I appreciate the fact that you’ve wasted so much time reading 650 books but you have not given me one solitary fact to prove your point in your testimonial.

  13. Richard P Weiss   September 25, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Very concise and to the point, while holding my interest. Another well written and insightful article. Thanks, Rebecca!

    • david   August 25, 2017 at 6:27 pm

      Richard, I’m a bit confused, maybe you can help. You’re praising Rebecca’s comment 4 days before she posted it.


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